How to meet customer needs during COVID-19
With the lockdown and a dramatic decline in visits to bricks and mortar stores, to survive and ideally grow brands are being been forced to embrace digital as a route to sell their services. After all, it’s the only channel currently open to them.
There are three approaches brands should consider to meet customer needs during this digital only time.
1) Address autocomplete to speed up checkout
Buying online needs to be a quick and easy process or it could lead to a sale being abandoned.
A standout solution is an address autocomplete service that ensures accurate address data is collected swiftly at checkout - regardless of where your customer is located globally. These tools will automatically reveal a suggested correct version of the address as the customer completes an online contact form, enabling them to select one that’s not only accurate, but easily recognised and correctly formatted for their country location.
Another advantage of an address autocomplete service is that there’s a reduction in the number of keystrokes required when typing an address, by up to 70 per cent. This speeds up checkout and reduces shopping cart abandonment, delivering a positive customer experience – vital when you want to encourage repeat visits to your website and increased sales.
2) Geocoding technology to improve logistics / delivery
To offer different delivery options to customers and speed up the whole fulfilment process consider geocoding. This requires brands to take an accurate postal address and enrich it by appending rooftop latitude and longitude location coordinates. By geocoding in this way businesses can obtain precise, plotted coordinates to improve logistics and decrease shipping costs, while reducing the chance of the dreaded and costly—both in monetary and customer experience terms—‘return to sender’ scenarios.
Geocoding is particularly important in logistics because location and address aren’t necessarily the same thing. Different locations may share an address such as a plot of land or the street edge of a driveway, for example. This makes a specific latitude and longitude location the most accurate, and makes it possible to accurately determine the shopper’s distance from distribution points, which generates real-time calculation of shipping costs. Also, the quickest distribution route to the customer can easily be identified. This information, in turn, enables organisations to offer a number of delivery options and price levels depending on how fast the customer wants to receive the item.
3) It all starts with data quality
As brands attempt to keep up with Amazon in trying to offer the best delivery options to their customers using the likes of geocoding, there’s increased pressure in making sure that the organisation’s overall logistics infrastructure integrates into their wider ecommerce process. This means they need to factor in the entire value chain, from payment, accounting, warehouse management, inventory management, addressing, shipping, logistics, route planning, to collection.
The efficiency of all these gelling together relies on the quality of the customer data. In fact, accurate address data is a prerequisite for online trading, enabling business processes to interact seamlessly, leading to fast processing of orders and timely deliveries, along with more effective CRM, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and online trading.
Yet approximately 20 per cent of addresses entered online contain errors, including spelling mistakes, wrong house numbers, and inaccurate postcodes. These mistakes are largely due to fat finger syndrome, with the popularity in completing contact forms on small mobile screens.
The good news is that clean data can be cost-effectively delivered via industry leading data cleansing, standardisation and verification services that provide data quality in batch, as well as at the data entry stage, in real-time. Often a good place to start is to use an address autocomplete service, as I’ve already covered.
Those brands that are either looking to move to selling online, or wanting to enhance their ecommerce model to deliver a standout customer experience shoppers want to return to in the current climate, should consider the value of address autocomplete, geocoding and wider data quality solutions. Embracing tools in these areas will help far-sighted businesses to successfully adapt to changing customer demands caused by COVID-19, and drive all important revenue.
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Barley Laing joined Melissa in 2014 during an exciting expansion phase of the California headquartered company.
As UK Managing Director with 15 years of data industry experience, his role is focused on meeting the data quality and compliance needs for organisations in the UK and worldwide.
The team that Barley heads at Melissa’s...